Order Writing on the Upswing at Moda Manhattan

After selling optimism as the trend of the moment at Moda Manhattan’s May and August editions, Britton Jones, president and chief executive officer of Business Journals Inc., which organizes Moda and AccessoriesTheShow, called the September outing “the show everyone’s been hoping for all year.”

Retailer attendance at the show, which was held Sept. 22 to 24 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan and featured a mostly spring market, was up 20 percent from September 2008, an increase Jones credited to an aggressive marketing campaign — print ads and partnerships with other trade shows — as well as a renewed retail attitude. “It’s not because Ben Bernanke says that the recession is likely over and everybody’s going to run out and spend,” said Jones. “But from the experience on the floor, retailers feel optimistic about the upcoming season.”

So said the exhibitors. “People are actually writing and leaving orders,” said Toby Treadwell, a sales executive at Eliza, a New York-based dress resource, adding that brights and detailed pieces were among her strongest sellers. Likewise for Cynthia Amaro, an account executive at Suzi Chin/Maggy Boutique, who said solids with a touch of novelty, such as a white dress with ruffle details, were going strong. “Last time people would buy two pieces per style, now they’re buying four to eight pieces,” said Amaro, noting Suzi Chin hadn’t cut prices — dresses range between $49 and $89 wholesale. “There’s a return of a sense of urgency.”

Amaro also praised the upgrades in Moda’s production, which featured new fixtures and a more upscale booth for exhibitors as well as a new Wi-Fi lounge and laptop service for retailers. According to Jones, investing in the exhibition space was a priority this season. “As everybody knows, it’s been a very long year in the women’s apparel market,” he said. “We thought it would be a particularly opportune time to give people the opportunity to better present their lines.” Still, for all the attention paid to the show’s appearance, Jones reported that the number of exhibitors — more than 450 apparel and accessories lines — remained flat since September 2008.

Which is not to say there wasn’t merchandise to be found. Harriet Ostrow, owner of Simcha Boutique in Oceanside, N.Y., placed an order for reversible jackets ($49.99 wholesale) from The Downtown Showroom booth, where owner Arlean Gall said striped looks from Transparente and nautical pieces from Vanilia were moving despite slightly higher prices because of the euro to dollar conversion.

As Marsha Davidson, who owns Body Talk in Avon and Westport, Conn., said after walking out of the Downtown Showroom, “I found a little levity, a little kick. The attitude is better, people are more positive, and it looks like [trends] are going back to easy dressing and less structure, which makes fit and sales a lot easier.”

— Jessica Iredale

Busy Booths at Coterie

Retailers were pleased with the mix at the spring 2010 edition of ENK International’s Fashion Coterie, while the 1,400 exhibitors were kept on their toes with busy booths. The show at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center ended its three-day run Thursday.

“I’ve been finding a lot of things and the prices are so great this time, which has been such a nice surprise,” said Stacy McAller, co-owner of the Reisterstown, Md.-based Little Luxuries boutique. “It was definitely worth the trip.”

Rani Somayaji, president and buyer for the Williamsville, N.Y.-based Tony Walker & Co., which carries a range of contemporary lines including J Brand, Citizens of Humanity and Juicy Couture, also was upbeat about the show.

“I’m loving almost too much of what I’m seeing this time,” she said while standing on line to get into the Elizabeth & James booth. “I have to hold back a lot.”

Rachel Mansfield, a buyer for Emma’s Closet in East End, Ark., said she was walking the show looking mostly for immediates.

“I’m not quite ready to order spring, but what I see looks really pretty,” she said. “I was hoping to find more immediates, but haven’t had as much luck as I would have liked. But overall, this is a great show.”

On the exhibitor side, designers offered a range of items to fit into a variety of stores for spring. The New York-based Kimberly Taylor, making its Coterie debut, showed a mix of items — from silk jersey pants in basic black and white to all silk bright pink, yellow and blue tops, as well as an edgier silk white vest and black jacket with exposed zippers, leather trims and ruffle details. She also showcased her new accessories collection consisting of studded belts and cuffs.

“It was important for me to have some edgier pieces to wear with the softer, more girly items in my line,” said Kimberly Gindi, owner and designer of the brand. The Kimberly Taylor collection wholesales from $90 to $135.

Next to Gindi was David Lerner, who had a busy booth with retailers ordering his signature leggings — from basic black styles to lace trimmed and acid-washed. The one-year-old company is based in Los Angeles but is in the process of moving operations to New York.

“I do all of my production in Brooklyn, so it’s a lot easier to base here,” Lerner explained. The collection, which has become known for its leggings, has grown for spring, offering burnout T-shirts and tanks in basic white and black, as well as fitted dresses and skirts. The David Lerner line wholesales from $30 to $75.

Rebecca Minkoff, known for her handbags, also had her newly expanded apparel collection with her at Coterie. While the designer lured in buyers with a mini oven filled with freshly baked Otis Spunkmeyer cookies in her booth, they seemed taken with her collection of silk dresses trimmed in lace, bright floral maxi dresses, pleated leather skirts and motorcycle jackets, all wholesaling from $155 to $395.

“We’ve signed on some great new stores,” Minkoff said.

At the Los Angeles-based Saivana, sales representative Joni Barnebey showed off the brand for the first time at Coterie, highlighting silk chiffon tops accented with beading and embroidery in colors from basic black and white to sage green, blue and light pink. There were also a range of day dresses, accented with the same beading and embroidery.

“We are really known for the embroidery and detailing,” Barnebey said. The Saivana collection wholesales from $58 to $73.

— Julee Kaplan

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